While attending Anime Boston I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with MIYAVI to ask him some questions about his music, his acting, and his work as a global ambassador. Check out his responses below!
Your work as a global ambassador is commendable. Can you explain what led you down that path in life?
I became an ambassador of UNCR in 2017. I just got back from Kenya. It was meaningful trip and experience. There are so many talented youths and people there. This situation isn’t any better, but what I saw on this trip in the Kokuma area in the northern part of Kenya was really impressive. They are trying to bring the refugees and their host communities together.
As a musician, I wasn’t aware of the initial challenges involving the refugee crisis. I first went to the refugee camps in Lebanon and played the guitar and the kids went crazy! The energy from the kids was huge and I thought ‘this is something I can do with my music’, and something music can do to bring light to this global issue.
I may play the guitar every night, but when I go there [to refugee camps] I just try to listen to people and spread their message to the whole world with my music. That’s my creation. It takes time and sometimes I feel frustrated by the situation. But it’s one of the biggest roles and missions in my life.
What was it like working on Bleach and officially stepping foot into the anime industry?
It was a really interesting and amazing experience for me. To study the sword was something I’ve never done in my life. I’m used to playing the guitar. So I studied and had lots of discussion with the director [Mr. Sato] because the character I played doesn’t express a lot of emotion. With it being a live action, there were a couple of different options I had on how to portray him. It was a big challenge for me to play the role, especially with his relationship with his sister. I also have a young sister, so I understand how he feels in regards to his sister.
How have you seen the rock and pop fandoms around the world evolve over your years of activity in the music industry?
The way people consume music has changed a lot, which is a by-product of the internet. People don’t pay money for physical music. I don’t have a CD player anymore either, it’s all downloads. That’s the reality we’re facing. It’s changing our style and way to compose music as well. If we don’t know our budget it’s harder to work with a studio. But that’s our reality.
The thing is, the power of music or culture hasn’t changed at all. People still need it. But the way we appreciate music is different. Now, we don’t wait to get home from work to listen to a record or a CD. We download the music now so we can listen to it on our drive home. It’s more digital and invisible and seems to be less appreciated. But that’s why we’re finding new ways to appreciate music, through YouTube and social media. So our responsibility is to show and share that new experience, to explore it. I’m really positive with how the music industry is reacting to the enormous influence that internet has had.
Music is music. People want to sing and dance. The only moment that will fundamentally change is when we become digital. For now we still listen to music with our ears. Even if our way of getting the music is digital, our way of consuming it is analog. So for now it’s all about how you create, and when you create music, or even food, you’re putting your emotion into it. That process is still analog and I believe it’s better than making something digitally. But, once we become digital through A.I. And future technology, that will be the moment A.I. Could possibly make music better than us. Until that moment, I think we’ll keep doing what we do. Even with the show last night, the experience isn’t something people can download. That’s the fun part of being a human being.
You seem to flow effortlessly from the rockstage to the catwalk. Do you find there are similarities between the two professions?
It’s a different tempo. I’m used to preparing and focusing on creations for my shows, what I eat, when I rehearse so there’s an explosion of music when I hit the stage. I prepare and dedicate myself to the moment I hit the stage until I finish playing. It’s one spark, a blink.
But with fashion it’s a bit faster. You walk the catwalk two to three times per show and the preparation is a lot less for the people walking. It’s really interesting to be there for something that you’re part of, but haven’t created. Movies are a lot like that too. As an actor, you’re one part of a bigger creation. And it’s fun. When I compose music for a game, or movie, or anime I feel something similar. To create something and to be part of something for a bigger creation is great. I always enjoy it and draw a lot of inspiration from it.
On behalf of myself and The Geekly Grind team, I would like to thank MIYAVI for taking the time to sit down with me.